Clothes Washers: Loads of Savings
The Savings Cycle
After refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers use more energy than any other appliance in the home. When buying a washer, the most important consideration is water efficiency, since 70% to 90% of the energy used will go to heating water.1 Start here, and find some helpful advice for reducing your energy laundry load.
Cost vs. Savings: Should You Buy?
Let’s face it, large appliances are expensive. Today’s new machines are more efficient than ever, but the payback on energy savings can take a long time to see. If your washer is over 10 years old, you should strongly consider replacing it. If not, you may still want to consider additional home improvements with quicker paybacks, like weatherizing and lighting. Plus, a few changes in how you use your washer may make a noticeable impact in terms of energy efficiency.
Efficiency: It’s in the Water
A cold-water wash and rinse cycle will cost 5 to 10 times less than a hot wash with a warm rinse!2 Because heating water can get expensive, advances in washer technology have focused on cleaning clothes well using only warm, or cold water. Typically the higher a machine’s Modified Energy Factor (MEF), the more efficient it is. Also look for a low Water Factor (WF), which measures the number of gallons per cubic foot that is used in a load. More efficient machines will have a lower WF.
Save Up Front: Front Loaders
Front loading washers are the more efficient than top-loading washers. Front loading machines generally use 30% to 60% less water and 50% to 70% less energy than their top-loading counterparts.3 This is because a front-loading machine uses smaller amounts of water, combined with the action of clothes passing through the water as the drum spins, to effectively and efficiently clean clothes.
Efficiency: Beyond the Basics
Some new machines also have sensors to adjust water levels and options for wash and rinse cycles to maximize energy savings. New machines may even save dryer energy and extend the life of your clothes by spinning more of the water out of your clothes than older models.
Find More Info
- American Council for Energy Efficient Economy
- California Energy Commission
- Energy Guide Home Analyzer
- Home Energy Advisor
- Department of Energy Home Energy Saver
- CNET Appliances
Places to Buy
1ACEEE. (2010). Consumer Resources: Laundry. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://www.aceee.org/node/3072
2ACEEE. (2010). Consumer Resources: Laundry. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://www.aceee.org/node/3072
3Goorskey, Sarah, Wang, K., Smith, A. (2004). Rocky Mountain Institute’s Home Energy Briefs #6 Cleaning Appliances. Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute. Retrieved on October 2, 2012, from http://www.rmi.org/rmi/pid217. (p. 2).